Seasonal Depression Awareness Month

Maddie VanderBoegh

December is Seasonal Depression Awareness Month, a time to learn about a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder and different ways to ease those impacted by this mental condition. Seasonal Affective Disorder is more serious than the case of the winter blues. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of mood disorder associated with seasonal changes. It is commonly seen as depression arising during the winter months. It happens due to a disturbance in the circadian system of the body. Diagnosis is based on detailed medical history and thorough psychiatric evaluation. Doctors may also suggest some tests to rule out other medical conditions. Typically, individuals with this disorder tend to feel tired, slow down, oversleep, overeat and crave carbohydrates during the Winter.  

Treatment for this disorder can vary. Some people have certain medications they take, some go to therapy, some find better ways to be nutritious and others practice forms of self-care.  

If you or someone you know need to find ways to practice self-care, a few students were asked to provide an example of ways they enjoy practicing self-care. These are their responses. 

“A few of my favorite ways to practice self-care when I am down are taking a shower, sleeping, watching cat videos, putting on makeup, painting and writing poetry,” said Ella Wainscott (12). 

“I like to go outside and exercise. It relieves stress and makes me feel fresh,” said Aneeza Ali (11).

“I like to focus on myself and just take a break from everything and do something I enjoy doing to make myself happier, which would be hanging out with friends,” said Emma Durbin (10). 

“I like to do journaling and practice breathing. I also like doing my skincare routine,” said Ellie Farley (9).

SAD affects about 15 million adults, or 6.8% of the U.S. Population. SAD is equally common among men and women. SAD typically begins around the age of 13.  

Not every individual with SAD experiences the same symptoms, but a few of them include feeling depressed most of every day, losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, having disrupted sleeping and eating patterns, feeling sluggish, feeling hopeless or worthless, and having a hard time concentrating. 

If you feel like you are one of the many people who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.